The Philippines is blessed with rich mountain ranges which contain a mega-biodiverse ecosystem having around 70% of the world’s species. Amazingly, these mountains are scattered in the over 7,000 islands in the Philippines.
The Visayas, or the middle region in between Luzon and Mindanao, boasts some of the most challenging, yet rewarding, hike the country has to offer. We have listed 7 of the best hiking sites in the Visayas which are divided into three depending on its level of difficulty. Are you as excited as we do? Read on then gear up!
1. Osmeña Peak
Location: Dalaguete and Badian, Cebu, Central Visayas
Elevation: 1,013 MASL
Duration: 1-2 days required, 2-5 hours to summit (from preferred campsite)
First in the list is not a single mountain but rather a mountain range! Osmeña Peak is the highest point in Region VII or Central Visayas. The terrain provides a challenge to first-time hikers. Reward yourselves to a cold bath in Kawasan Falls after the hike!
2. Mt. Manunngal
Location: Balamban, Cebu, Central Visayas
Elevation: 1,300 meters above sea level (MASL)
Duration: 1-2 days required, 3-5 hours to summit
Protected by Republic Act 8457 or “Central Cebu Protected Landscape Act,” Mt. Manunggal contains important earth formations such as a river system and various watersheds. The hike starts at Brgy. Magsaysay, Balamban. What’s more fun than hiking and getting the chance to enjoy the waters?
3. Mt. Tres Marias
Location: Almeria, Biliran, Eastern Visayas
Elevation: 1,315 MASL
Duration: 2 days required, 6-7 hours to summit
The adventure Mt. Tres Marias requires hikers to cross waterfalls, streams, and a dense mossy forest. While the hike may be tiring and perspiring, the cool forest will provide ample cooling to your team to feel cool!
The 6-hour ascent to the summit starts at the Aeta campsite which is also 6 hours away from the jumpoff point in Brgy. Sampao, Almeria.
4. Alto Peak
Location: Ormoc City, Leyte, Eastern Visayas
Elevation: 1,332 MASL
Duration: 3-4 days, 5-6 hours
Alto Peak is also a mountain range and not a single mountain. It is the highest point in Region or Eastern Visayas. Compared to the other sites listed, there have been lesser summit ascents at Alto Peak. A slow pace on this trail will be more rewarding since you can appreciate more the landscape and forest on the way to Alto Peak.
5. Mt. Baloy Daku
Location: Valderama, Antique, Western Visayas
Elevation: 1,550 MASL
Duration: 4 days required, 2-3 hours to summit
The last 3 of the best hiking sites in the Visayas are actually part of the “Panay Trilogy.” The name was coined since some hikers hike all three mountains at once. The lowest point in the trilogy is Mt. Baloy Daku. The journey to the summit features plenty of rivers which hikers can swim into or find food. The best part? The peak provides a full view of Antique’s magnificent landscape!
6. Mt. Nangtud
Location: Barbaza, Antique, Western Visayas
Elevation: 2,073 MASL
Duration: 3-4 days, 14-16 hours
Early in the trek, hikers will be required to cross Dalanas River which can slow down the journey to the summit. Its mossy forests also pose a challenge since hikers will have a harder time walking due to slippery branches and roots.
The preferred campsite or “campsite Rancho” is the last point for hikers to sleep before an assault to the summit the next day. The mountain’s name translates to “hard to reach” in English. It may be really hard but it’s surely worth it.
7. Mt. Madjaas
Location: Culasi, Antique, Western Visayas
Elevation: 2,113 MASL
Duration: 3-4 days, 12-14 hours
After this hike, you and your team will surely be proud of your achievement: hiking the highest point in the Panay Trilogy and the whole of Visayan islands (this is still being contested since Mt. Kanlaon is also considered the highest point in Visayas)
There is lesser information online regarding explorations and ascent to Mt. Madjaas which makes this hike better. WIth no expectations, only doing the hike can you experience Mt. Madjaas in its full glory.
Take note that some campsites are either closer or farther to a mountain’s peak so the hours required to the summit may vary drastically per mountain. Nevertheless, enjoying these best hiking sites of the Visayas is a must-try for every adventurer!